In 2011 Simran Multani started baking as a hobby in Gurgaon. With the strong support of her family and friends, who felt that her bakes were wonderful and wholesome, and it could be something that people would love to pay for. Within one year Simran has created a brand Ovenderful and started using her skills to raise funds for NGO’s. In our series of Women In Business, here’s one more entrepreneur from Bangalore who inspire us not just for baking but to do something for the society.
1.Give us an introductions about yourself for our readers? Tell us what is Ovenderful all about.
I am a self-taught home baker who runs her own home based, small scale venture called Ovenderful, for a year now. I am also an independent HR consultant and has worked for 11 years in Consulting roles at the India and Asia-Pacific levels with large firms. Mother to 1 human kid who turns 2 years old this November, and two Indian canine kids, I also enjoy reading and writing. Ovenderful is all about classic & old world flavours that defined baked goods several decades ago. It is about traditional bakes, but also healthy and contemporary bakes. While there are Western elements predominantly, Indian ingredients play a large role in some of my unique bakes.
2. How were the initial days?
Extremely tough – it still is, since I am in the initial phase on many elements even now. But this first year has been about experimenting, collecting information, setting up minor processes for myself so that I can manage orders and time better since I bake alone. It was also tough with a toddler at home, but my son seems to love the baking tins and the whisk 🙂 That can keep him occupied for times when I am working on an order ! My understanding of pricing the products, packaging them and even marketing them is still in the nascent stages and I think I learn new things every day even now.
3. What is the cost of setting up this business?
I think the time and effort costs are far higher than the financial costs initially unless someone wants to make huge investment in commercial ovens and mixers etc. In my case I made staggered investment in small equipment, critical baking pans/tins, packaging material and spent a lot more time in trying to set up the other elements like expanding my list of baked goodies, identifying what recipes are core to the Ovenderful belief and so on.
4. How bake sales are fun,creative & community oriented. Tell us more on this.
I love bake sales, especially planning what you want to make and sell, how you want to price it, how to make it attractive, how to encourage others to buy that for a good cause – I have done 2 individually from home to raise funds for Help & Heal Animal Trust and 2 through other NGOs ( Precious Paws Foundation and Indigree Angels Trust) working with abandoned, injured and old animals.
Bake sales gave me the ability to combine my desire to help a cause close to my heart with my skill. They also give my work a sense of purpose and to me, if a venture/business does not have a soul which drives it towards community service, it does not have a depth of character.
5. What are the healthy & organic bakes? Tell us more about your spread
Well, firstly I think we need to understand the saying that ” There are too many people counting the calories, and not enough counting the chemicals”. I don’t use any artificial colours. Through my ingredients I try to minimize the chemicals ( e.g. using sulphur-free white sugar, aluminium free baking powder etc).
When it comes to healthy & organic bakes specifically, all my bakes under this category are made of alternative organic flours such as wholewheat, semolina, gramflour, wheat bran and ragi. There are also variants which are nut-free, dairy-free, eggless, butter-less and some vegan ones. Natural sweeteners such as gur/jaggery, fruit purees, honey are also used extensively as alternatives to sugar.